Even the most careful individual will end up with a few spills on their carpets over time, but spills do not have to turn into stains. Spots can be cleaned with good success with products designed for use on carpet, but these products can often come at a high price. Plus, if you do not have such a product on hand when a spill occurs, it is important to treat the stain promptly. You can cut costs and rely on ammonia for thorough carpet cleaning.
Cleaning Mild Stains
Ammonia should only be used to spot treat carpet rather than as a solution to clean the entire surface. Straight ammonia should never be applied to carpet, as it can change the color of the carpet and weaken the fibers, causing the carpet to attract dirt more easily. To spot clean stains, mix 2 tablespoons of ammonia with 1 cup of water. Apply a sponge or clean white cloth to this solution and wring it out until it is damp. Blot the carpet using your knuckles to apply pressure. Do not rub the carpet harshly. Immediately after applying the ammonia solution, mix 2 teaspoons of mild, clear dish detergent with two cups of warm water. Repeat the blotting process with a clean cloth or sponge. If the stains remain, repeat the process. Allow the carpet to dry before allowing traffic on it.
Cleaning Deep Stains
If the stains in your carpet do not react to the process detailed above, you will want to try a deeper cleaning method. You will need a solution of one tablespoon of ammonia added to one-half cup of water. Place the solution in a spray bottle and spray on the affected area. Allow to set for at least five minutes. Place a clean white cloth over the stains. Using an iron set on the lowest setting, apply the iron to the white cloth and move back and forth quickly. The heat reacting with the ammonia will draw out the stain. Do not leave the iron on the affected area for more than a few seconds, as it can melt the carpet fibers. Synthetic carpets are even more prone to melting than those made of wool.
Considerations for Pet Owners
If you have a pet in your home, abstain from using ammonia to clean your carpets. The odor released by the ammonia mimics the odor of the animal's urine. As a result, your pet may be tricked into thinking that spot on your carpet is where they should do their business. Try an enzyme-based cleaner or hydrogen peroxide solution instead.